(Last Updated on : 10-09-2015)
Cinereous vulture is an Indian bird
along with a scientific name "Aegypius monachus
" is a large raptorial bird that is distributed through much of Eurasia. It is also known as the black vulture, monk vulture, or Eurasian black vulture.
Class of Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous Vulture is a member of the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers. It is one of the two largest Old World vultures.
This bird is an Old World vulture, and is only distantly related to the New World vultures, which are in a separate family, Cathartidae, of the same order. It is therefore not directly related to the much smaller American black vulture despite the similar name and coloration.
Concentration of Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous Vulture is a Eurasian species. The western limits of its range are in Spain and inland Portugal, with a reintroduced population in south France. Cinereous vulture is found discontinuously to Greece, Turkey and throughout the central Middle East. Their range continues through Afghanistan eastwards to northern India to its eastern limits in central Asia, where they breed in northern Manchuria, Mongolia and Korea. Their range is fragmented especially throughout their European range. It is generally a permanent resident except in those parts of its range where hard winters cause limited altitudinal movement and for juveniles when they reach breeding maturity. In the eastern limits of its range, birds from the northernmost reaches may migrate down to southern Korea and China. A limited migration has also been reported in the Middle East but is not common.
Residence of Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous Vulture is a bird of hilly, mountainous areas, especially favouring dry semi-open habitats such as meadows at high altitudes over much of the range. Nesting usually occurs near the tree line in the mountains. They are always associated with undisturbed, remote areas with limited human disturbance.
Feedings of Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous Vulture forage for carcasses over various kinds of terrain, including steppe, grasslands, open woodlands, along riparian habitats or any kind of mountainous habitat. In their current European range and through the Caucasus and Middle East, cinereous vultures are found from 100 to 2,000 m (330 to 6,560 ft) in elevation, while in their Asian distribution, they are typically found at higher elevations. Two habitat types were found to be preferred by the species in China and Tibet.
Structure of Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous vulture is distinctly dark, with the whole body being brown excepting the pale head in adults, which is covered in fine blackish down. This down is absent in the closely related lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos
). The skin of the head and neck is bluish-grey and a paler whitish colour above the eye. The adult has brown eyes, a purplish cere, a blue-grey bill and pale blue-grey legs. The primary quills are often actually black. From a distance, flying birds can easily appear all black. The immature plumage is sepia-brown above, with a much paler underside than in adults. Immature cinereous vultures have grey down on the head, a pale mauve cere and grey legs. The massive bill is the largest of any living accipiterid, a feature enhanced by the relatively small skull of the species. The exposed culmen of the cinereous vulture measures 8–9 cm (3.1–3.5 in).
Wings of Cinereous Vulture
The wings of Cinereous Vulture with serrated leading edges are held straight or slightly arched in flight and are broad, sometimes referred to as "barn door wings". Their flight is slow and buoyant, with deep, heavy flaps when necessary. The combination of huge size and dark coloration renders the cinereous vulture relatively distinct, especially against smaller raptors such as eagles or hawks. The most similar-shaped species, the lappet-faced vulture is distinguished by its bare, pinkish head and contrasting plumage. On the lappet-face, the thighs and belly are whitish in adult birds against black to brownish over the remainder of the plumage. All potential Gyps vultures are distinguished by having paler, often streaky plumage, with bulging wing primaries giving them a less evenly broad-winged form. Cinereous vultures are generally very silent, with a few querulous mewing, roaring or guttural cries solely between adults and their offspring at the nest site.